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The Gauntlet: Issue #4

Newsletter #4 - 13 October 2016

Sorry for publishing the newsletter later than usual. We've had a surge in subscriptions today and we wanted to make sure that everyone was kept up to date with developments.

Our team has been very busy in the past week and some real progress has been made. We were out monitoring traffic patterns during the Kowhai Festival and comparing our research with Auckland Transport data.

Chris Murphy, who is chair of One Warkworth (formerly the Warkworth Area Business Association), invited Rodney Member of Parliament, Mark Mitchell, and newly-elected Councillor for Rodney, Greg Sayers, to view Roger Williams’ presentation about why there is urgency to Fix Hill Street Now. Roger has also been invited to also present to the newly-elected members of the Rodney Local Board.


One of the key messages that our group is trying to stress is the importance of Hill Street as a transport hub to the region. Yes, in our 'hub-and-spoke' road network the Western Collector and Matakana Link will provide a rim to the wheel but, as we know too well, if the hub is broke, the wheel falls off!


It was universally agreed that the groups at the meeting work together and share information, including communications, research, skills, and experience. It emerged that there was some replication of effort by all and disparity of data.


Mark Mitchell briefed the group about work going on behind the scenes. Following a recent meeting, NZTA has set aside a budget and a team to look at the overall layout of Hill Street. Considering that up until now NZTA and Auckland Transport have only looked at altering the markings and controls without looking at the shape of the intersections, this is encouraging news.


One area that hasn’t been clear up until now is what will happen to Hill Street’s administration after the completion of the Tollway. Mark Mitchell confirmed our fears that the intersection will become Auckland Transport’s responsibility, much like the former State Highway 1 route through Albany, which has become Dairy Flat Highway.

We are inquiring further about how this arrangement will work. As you know, the Northern Tollway is not State Highway 1 and the State Highway 1 route is still through Orewa and Waiwera, which NZTA apparently still administers.

Regardless, Greg Sayers made it quite clear that he expected the NZTA-funded Warkworth Intersections Improvement Project to fix Hill Street before Auckland Council is landed with it.


Central to our argument as to why Hill Street needs to be fixed first is the construction traffic. On first appearances, the traffic to build a road, subdivision infrastructure, or build houses doesn’t sound like it will create as much traffic as when people are living and commuting from it. From our research, however, you’d be surprised.

When the Northern Tollway was first conceived between Orewa and Puhoi, construction traffic was considered “less than minor.” Onerahi Chaos-Breccia put a spanner in the works to that perception.

According to traffic studies, a dwelling can produce 6-8 traffic movements a day. When subdivisions are built, however, traffic movements can peak at 2-3 times that number. The construction of houses within that subdivision can be 3-4 times that number again.

Take, for example, a simple 50-lot subdivision in Warkworth, Omaha, Snells Beach, Point Wells, or Matakana that includes 300 metres of roading. Due to the soil profile of most subdivisions, clay or a suitable base soil needs be brought in from Dairy Flat or Silverdale for building platforms and roading foundations. Extra excavators need to also separate the soils.

Considering that each truck and trailer unit can carry 20 tonnes of material, each subdivision will require almost 300 truckloads for roading material, 500 truckloads for soil, and 200 trucks for infrastructure material. That’s 1000 trucks – all travelling through Hill Street.

The figure of an extra 1000 traffic movements is just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve overlooked the builders, suppliers, sparkies, plumbers, roofers, painters, plasterers, inspectors, engineers, and other staff. If they turn up in the morning, head somewhere for lunch, and then head home, it is easy to see how the traffic generated is easily higher than when the houses are completed.

But we aren’t talking about just 50 houses, are we? Taking into account the amount of infill that One Warkworth is projecting, there will be 10,000+ dwellings built in Warkworth in the next decade – before the Tollway, Matakana Link, and Western Collector are completed.

Can you see how one of our team foresaw the gathering storm years ago?